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WRESTLING COLUMNS

See, a Leopard CAN Change its Spots.
July 17, 2002 - By Darryl Craven


Hogan Thanks His Fans
Its been well documented over the years that Hulk Hogan only looks out for himself and balls about anyone else, but things have changed and this old dog HAS learnt new tricks, for now at least.

When Vince resigned Hulk Hogan I was shocked and a little bemused, after all the man was 48 approaching retirement and had a really bad reputation for attempting to manipulate the booking staff and co-erse the boss into following his ideas. Ideas, which usually involved Hogan coming out on top of the federation, he was currently working in and ending up with the strap.

Evidence of this came at Wrestlemania 9 when Hogan threatened Vince with a no show unless he somehow walked away with the title even though the Main Event was between Bret Hart and Yokozuna. Vince of course gave in, knowing that the fans would be incensed at the possibility of no Hogan, THE major player in the industry at that time. So he gave it up and Hogan came down after the Hart Yoko match and had an "impromptu" match up which Hogan walked away from with the title.
Hogan continued with this type of manipulation throughout his tenure with WCW in the mid to late 90's running through the WCW with amok and disregard for other, younger guys who were trying to break into the scene.

So in February of this year at the announcement of the Hogan resigning fans across the world were pissed off. Why the hell was Vince hiring a guy who could cause a huge drop in the morale of the locker room with his backstage antics well documented for being disruptive. But we all thought, "No lets give him one last chance, lets see how he goes." And we did and he failed us immediately. Along with fellow n.W.o members Scott Hall, who was fired two months into his return and Kevin Nash who has had only two matches since his return, Hogan and his cohorts were repeatedly late for house shows and RAW.

So it seemed that the Hulk Hogan we all knew and hated was still there, still up to his old tricks.

So Hogan came into the WWF the way he left, an ego maniac breaking the rules going over the top of the younger guys to make a match of a life time against the NEW legend of wrestling, The Rock. The match, at Wrestlemania X-8 received the biggest pop that I could ever remember hearing EVER. Hogan was, for some reason receiving the pop of a lifetime, and the fans were behind him at least 90% and Hogan did the unthinkable, he put The Rock over. He lost the match on his return to Wrestlemania!!!!!

After the match the n.W.o turned on their friend making Hogan a hero once again as he posed for the crowd. And Hulkamania was once again in full force as Hogan received huge ovations across the country at Raw and later Smackdown.

The Hulkster

But this isn't the point, completely proving us ALL wrong Hogan was actually working for the company, even going to the point of letting Taker drag him around the arena on his motorcycle. Not something a lot of people would do never mind Hogan, "Yeah but he's only doing this for now, hell be back to his old ways soon enough" was the reaction from the "smarks". But three months and three ppv's on, Hogan still continues to do the job as asked without much complaint. Angle, HHH, Jericho and Taker to name a few have been recipients of Hogans new found respect for the new generation and has impressed people backstage with his attitude to his work.

So Leopards CAN change their spots and old dogs CAN learn new tricks and Hulk Hogan has certainly re-gained my respect, after all Hogan made wrestling the business it is today arguably and now he's helping the next generation try to keep the business as successful as he helped make it.

Well Done Terry Bollea


By Darryl Craven

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